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Next to the outright purchase, maintenance may very well be the costliest part of owning a vehicle. After the car rolls out of the dealership and into the owner’s hands, the next three to five years will see the car being serviced and maintained by the very same people who sold it. Thus, it is but natural for a wise buyer to factor in the maintenance and ownership cost to the ultimate decision.

In a Jan. 21 virtual round-table discussion with the media, Kia Philippines’ aftersales officers were forthright in acknowledging that its dealerships’ maintenance costs for its vehicles were substantially higher compared to those of other brands, and that it was directly addressing the issue by applying specific solutions.

“When we studied the cost of ownership, we saw that we were around 30 percent higher in terms of the 5-year maintenance cost, so that led us to look for ways on how to improve that situation. That was where we looked into the price of engine oils, because in maintaining a car, the biggest chunk (of maintenance costs) will be the oil that we use. That’s when we collaborated with Total and found an alternative that would improve the cost of ownership,” revealed Rommel Ramos, Kia Philippines aftersales director.

Ramos said that using a new mineral oil from Total, up to 40-percent savings on engine oil expenses could be achieved.

He added that aside from applying the new mineral oil, ownership costs could also go further down by implementing the following: Improved parts availability using reliable partners for direct delivery, wherein parts would be available at the dealer within seven days, and; enhanced service quality and lead time with real time technical support using remote diagnosis system.

These are on top of its Promise to Care program, in which customers are assured of a worry-free experience with the five-year warranty or 160,000 kilometers, whichever comes first (the K2500 comes with a three-year or 110,000-km warranty), and the 24/7 Roadside Assistance that’s free for the first five years.

A key component in improving parts availability includes increasing Kia’s inventory five-fold, and covers maintenance, mechanical and collision parts. With Kia Philippines’ new partner DHL, parts from Korea and China can be delivered directly to the dealers within seven days. Enhanced service quality and lead time includes 100-percent skills training and certification of all its 300 dealer frontliners; and using Kia’s new remote diagnosing capability. Kia Philippines and Kia Motors Corporation can examine a car at the dealer real-time and provide expert advice, thus resolving the issue faster.

Dealership expansion is also in Kia Philippines’ to-do list, as it moves to grow its current dealer network of 40 with five more openings and appointments.  This expansion would make Kia’s products more accessible to more Filipinos, while boosting the customer experience through parts and service programs.

Kia Philippines president Manny Aligada also told the media: “We have a global rebranding exercise. We will bring that to our shores when we do our own launch here. The path to growth is always there, especially since the Philippine market is a significant player in the Asean region.”

Aligada revealed that the Korean brand is poised to hit triple-digit sales growth on its way to doubling its market share in the local automotive industry this 2021. Aligada’s optimism stems from Kia Philippines’ plan to “unbox” at least two new models this year, thus adding significant sales firepower to the company’s top three sellers in 2020—the Soluto subcompact sedan, the K2500 business and utility truck, and the recently launched Stonic crossover.

The Soluto held steady at the top with 39 percent of the company’s total sales, followed by the K2500 with 17 percent. The Stonic, albeit being unveiled only in the last quarter of the year, sold 200 units in December alone en route to cornering 16 percent of the volume of total deliveries. The Seltos, Sportage, Picanto, Sorento, Carnival and the rest of Kia’s roster also contributed to total sales.

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